MLB Baseball

1
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Kansas City0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 180
Toronto0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 021
0
  W: J. Vargas (17-10)   L: J. Happ (9-11)   S: M. Minor (2)
4:07 PM PT5:07 PM MT6:07 PM CT7:07 PM ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 PM MST6:07 PM EST6:37 PM VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 PM CT, September 21, 2017
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 35,861

Jays' Happ, Royals' Vargas square off in rubber match

According to STATS
According to STATS

Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays

  1. The Royals lost three of four games in Cleveland, but were able to snap the Indians' AL-record, 22-game win streak. Kansas City has won four of its last six road series with both losses coming against Cleveland.
  2. The Blue Jays are coming off a four-game series split in Minnesota. Toronto lost the final game of the series 13-7 and is now 18-3 on the season when scoring seven runs or more.
  3. The Royals won the lone matchup between these teams back in late June, two games to one. The Royals won the series despite being out-hit in each game.
  4. In Sam Gaviglio's last start, he went 5.0 innings allowing just two runs as the Royals beat the White Sox 4-3. Before that start, the Royals had lost Gaviglio's last five starts and won the previous five before those.
  5. Marcus Stroman is just shy of 200 innings pitched for the season, entering Tuesday's game with 184.1 innings. Stroman had 204.0 innings pitched last season and could become the first Blue Jays pitcher with at least 200 innings pitched in consecutive seasons since R.A. Dickey reached that plateau in three straight from 2013-2015.
  6. Josh Donaldson has five home runs over his past three games. The last Blue Jays batter to hit that many homers over a three-game span was Edwin Encarnacion from May 18-21, 2014.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/19/2017 thru 9/21/2017

TORONTO -- Something must give when left-handers J.A. Happ and Jason Vargas oppose each other Thursday.

It will be the rubber match of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre after the Kansas City Royals trounced the Toronto Blue Jays 15-5 on Wednesday to gain a split of the first two games.

Happ (9-10, 3.76 ERA) has won three starts in a row and has not lost since Aug. 25, a span of four starts.

Vargas (16-10, 4.19 ERA) has won two starts in a row, most notably Friday, when he was the winning pitcher as the Royals ended the Cleveland Indians' 22-game winning streak.

The Blue Jays (71-81) also need a win Thursday to gain a split in their six-game season series against the Royals (74-77). Kansas City is within 3 1/2 games of the second American League wild-card spot occupied by the Minnesota Twins.

Reaching the playoff would be a difficult task for the Royals since the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers sit between them and the Twins.

The Royals, who lost the opener to the Blue Jays 5-2 on Tuesday, had 18 hits on Wednesday, including the 37th homer of the season by Mike Moustakas, which set a single-season club record. Steve Balboni hit 36 for Kansas City in 1985.

"We needed that," Royals manager Ned Yost said of the offensive outburst.

And Moustakas needed that home run after going 15 games without once since hitting No. 36 on Sept. 1. He had hit only one homer in 28 games before Wednesday.

"This is a pretty good place to hit," Moustakas said. "I knew I got it pretty good. It was a good feeling to see it go over the wall and kind of get that one off my chest. ... It's been a little frustrating, sometimes trying to do too much, sometimes trying to just kind of back down and figure it out."

The Royals improved to 2-4 on an 11-game road trip.

The Blue Jays, who reached the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016, have four games left on their final homestand of the season, yet they maintain a sense of optimism for next season after struggling this season with injuries and underperformance.

Right-handed starter Marco Estrada emphasized that when he explained why he signed a one-year, $13 million contract extension for 2018 even though he was eligible to become a free agent in the offseason.

"I'm extremely optimistic about our chances next year," Estrada said before the game Wednesday. "That was the main reason why I wanted to come back. I feel like things are about to happen for this team."

He will join a rotation that will have Happ, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, who missed most of this season with a blister and other issues with his right middle finger. The fifth starter is still to be determined.

Happ, who struggled early in the season with elbow inflammation, is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his past four starts.

In one start this season against the Royals, June 23, he allowed four hits, no walks and one run in 6 2/3 innings and did not factor in the decision as Kansas City won 5-4. In five career starts against the Royals, he is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA.

In the 4-3 win over Cleveland on Friday, Vargas allowed five hits, three walks and three runs in five innings. He has three wins in six starts against the Indians this season.

The Royals are 18-11 in his starts.

Vargas is 3-3 with a 4.96 ERA in nine career starts against the Blue Jays. He is 3-0 in his past four starts against Toronto. His last loss to the Blue Jays occurred on April 29, 2012, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Updated September 21, 2017

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